NEW DELHI : A new National Executive committee with 80 members have been constituted by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), the interesting twist is that it does not consist the name of Three-time member of parliament Varun Gandhi and his mother Maneka Gandhi, also a five-term MP, were dropped from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national executive on Thursday.
Their sacking came on the heels of Varun condemning the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in a series of tweets. The name of former Union minister Birender Singh Chaudhary was missing. Varun Gandhi and Birender Singh both have been critical of the contentious farm laws.
Gandhi has also condemned the incident of Lakhimpur Kheri, in which a Union Minister’s convoy ran over and killed four protesting farmers, he was removed from the BJP National Executive. Gandhi on Thursday called for “accountability for the innocent blood of farmers” as he posted a purported video of the incident. “The video is crystal clear. Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer,” Gandhi tweeted on Thursday.
Apart from its top brass that includes PM Narendra Modi, defence minister Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, it has party veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi as its members. Besides 80 regular members, the executive will also have 50 special invitees and 179 permanent invitees. Incidentally, 37 of the 80 members are Union Ministers and a number of ministers from the state are part of the committee and this leaves less space for the ordinary members of the ruling party to become part of the deliberative mechanism of the BJP.
BJP senior leader and state legislator Subramanian Swamy has no place. Meanwhile, Union Minister Aswini Vaishnav has been given a place in the Jyotiraditya Cynthia. Harshavardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar continue to be on the National Executive Committee. It is noteworthy that the meeting of the new National Executive Committee members is scheduled to take place on November 7 in Delhi.
He has also been consistently supporting the farmers’ movement, and over the last four days had been demanding that the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government should immediately arrest the accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri farmers’ murder case. His and his mother’s omission for the 80-member national executive released on Thursday appears to be a punitive action for dissent, although the BJP sources brushed off the rejig as a “routine exercise”.
However, dropping critical leaders from the national executive is conspicuous as Varun may have been the only BJP MPs to have vocally expressed his support to the slain farmers ever since Lakhimpur Kheri violence captured national attention. He had also extended his support to the largest mahapanchayat of farmers in Muzaffarnagar on September 5, and has from time to time asked the government to find an immediate resolution to the farmers’ demands.
Most recently, Varun tweeted a video showing a VIP convoy of cars mowing down unarmed protesting farmers unapologetically. The BJP MP called it a “murder” and said that video was enough to “crystal clear” evidence against the culprits. He later demanded that accountability should be fixed for the “innocent blood of farmers”. “Justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer,” Gandhi tweeted.
“Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer,” he posted on Twitter. Against this backdrop, Varun had also written to the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath to initiate a CBI probe in the matter and announce a compensation of Rs one crore for the families of dead farmers. The UP government had earlier announced relief of Rs 45 lakh for the families.
It is, however, curious that the BJP government in UP has failed to make a single arrest in the aftermath of farmers’ killings since the violence broke out at Lakhimpur Kheri, even while it showed unusual promptness to drop seemingly dissident party MPs. Despite repeated demands from farmers’ groups, civil society, and opposition parties, the BJP has also chosen to retain the junior minister of home affairs Ajay Mishra in the Union cabinet.
(With Inputs from our National Bureau ).